Facebook updates aside, I’ve been remiss in documenting our most recent vacation. So, here goes…
I’d been holding to a tradition of taking a “big” vacation in even years, and just short trips in Texas in odd years. Then there was the unfortunate contract recompete that led to my job being gone for six weeks, and coming back at a 15% lower salary, so we doubled up on the Texas years. This year, we finally had the cash to stumble out to the west coast again, so we did.
For several years, The Boy has wanted to take a surfing class. Kat had an abiding distrust of Disneyana, and a love of animals. I love Monterey. All these combined to produce our itinerary of San Diego, Anaheim, and Monterey.
My aunt in Tucson is very generous and interesting, so we crashed there on the way to and fro. My grandfather lives in San Diego, so we had dinner with him. I graduated high school from the Los Angeles area, so we had dinner and drinks with some of my high school friends (one I’d not seen since graduation even).
The surfing class went well for Alex. Kat and I fell down a lot and got very tired. The class included an hour of equipment rental after the session; we did not need it. I’ve almost recovered a couple weeks later.
The next day we hit San Diego Wild Animal Park; the highlight of that trip was a deer in the petting kraal licking Kat’s forehead. It’s always nice to realize you could be a salt lick for other animals.
Our day at Disneyland served to rid Kat of her distaste for the concept, rooted in some bad time at Disneyworld 30 years ago. Because we went to the park days before any southern California kids got out of school, we had much-reduced crowds. So much so, that we got on over a dozen rides during the day. Star Tours is getting revamped this fall, and Captain Eo is back for an unknown-length engagement, so we were happy to see both of those attractions. The only major ride we didn’t hit was Indiana Jones – it was in a 3-day refurb cycle, darnit.
Monterey is awesome. If you’ve never been, you just don’t understand. We hit several beaches, finding almost no shells, much to the dismay of The Boy. We ameliorated this dismay with lavish applications of sea lions. Al, an Army buddy (makes me feel like I should be in an Ernest Borgnine movie saying that) works at Monterey Aquarium, so we got the behind-the-scenes tour of that marvelous place. Seafood every day made The Woman very happy. Playing in the incredibly cold water of the Monterey Bay made The Boy very happy. Being back in Monterey, even for just a few days, made me very happy. I love that place.
While we in the area, we stopped by the Winchester Mystery House, which is a beautiful place with great decorations and fine appointments, as well as doors to nowhere and windows in the floor. Then, we spent a few wonderful hours with another high school friend, who has become a shark lawyer in San Francisco. Emily rocks and Alex got a great photo with Yoda out of the experience. For those veterans who spent time at the Defense Language Institute in SF, you’d be amazed at what they’ve done with the old hospital. Well, they knocked it down about 8 years ago. But, where it once stood is now a giant LucasArts facility which looks remarkably like a 1940s-era military building, but without the crumbling facades and low ceilings and with some added Darth Vader and Boba Fett statues in the lobby.
We hit up an In-N-Out in Yuma on the way to California, and in the middle of the desert on the way back. They really need to bring those to Texas. Kat got plenty of animal time on this trip, and now is convinced that we must find a way to move to the West Coast as soon as we can. That’s at least a year away, but I’m up for any idea that involves being near the ocean. I hope you enjoyed our little photo journey through California – more pictures on the blog gallery, as usual.